Doing the Spanish Limbo


Courtesy of Gratisography

The worst thing about temporarily setting up your life in a new city is that it’s temporary. I feel as though I’ve been suspended a foot over the asphalt for 3 months. I couldn’t get too comfortable because my  expiration date would soon come to pop the balloons overhead.

During this suspension, I’ve been partially living in Barcelona. Working as an intern, staying in an Airbnb apartment, and partying with visiting Lebanese friends. I’ve been floating just a few inches above the complete submersion into Catalonia. Teetering between tourist and expat is such a beautiful way to learn about the world but the allure can only last so long – especially for someone who doesn’t know how to live without a plan, to live without roots or some kind of routine.

Truth is, I started packing 9 days ahead of my flight (also to see if a pair of classic black & white  Superstars could be shoved into my second suitcase) and I’m ready to hit the ground running. I want to go sit in Urbanista for 6 hours drinking cappuccinos and planning AIGA ME events. I want to see the Sursock Museum and spend a Saturday in Horsh Beirut. I want to make some money and build my empire. I want to go to AUB to hang out with some affectionate cats while eating Kababji tabbouli on the Green Oval. I don’t want to be surrounded by garbage, deal with a shitty internet connection, or count how many weeks we’ve gone without a president. But I do want to start making my next move. I want to get back to my life. Real life.

Beirut, even if Putin is hijacking our airspace, I’m coming for you.

My 15th Year in Lebanon

As the year comes to an end and another one begins, most of us tend to focus on the things we didn’t do or the resolutions we didn’t follow through on. A post I wrote over 2 years ago had a list of things I wanted to do and I STILL haven’t done all of them. Instead of dwelling on “failures”, how about we reflect on the accomplishments and steps forward? Although the idea of a fresh start based on a date on a calendar is cheesy (you don’t need to wait for January 1st to roll around), it’s always good to pause and learn from what your days have led up to. That, or you can just pause every 4 years. I’m going on my 15th year here so I want to reflect on the last one.

For 2014:

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Budapest, Hungary – March 2014

Briefly visited 6 new cities and revisited 3 old ones. I didn’t get to experience all cities equally but I did try with the time that was given to me. I learned to appreciate parts of Dubai after multiple visits but Budapest takes the cake this year. I also realized that I rate hotels in a very illogical way using 3 criteria:

  1. If there is a power outlet and master light switch next to the bed.
  2. The free stationery that I’m taking home as a souvenir (mainly the pen/pencil but gold stars for postcards).
  3. The taco-human quality of the mattress. The mattress is the hard shell and must hug me like I am ground beef.
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Jounieh Teleferique – Oct 2014

Rode the Teleferique in the middle of a thunderstorm. The days when you decide to be batshit crazy are the ones that stay with you. And with your friend who has a fear of heights.

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Christmas Cards at Dar Bistro – Dec 2014

Sold a few cards I designed myself (finally!).

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Chili’s, 10 months ago is too long

Had ribs for the first time because I wanted to be Frank Underwood for an hour. This is an accomplishment in my mind. I still believe Freddy’s exists somewhere and I will find it. If anyone does this, invite me over.

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California Adventure, Disneyland – July 2014

Reconnected with my California roots (and family) only to find that I’m more Arab than I even know and Disneyland is not the same at 26.

For 2015:
– Keeping a logbook
– Starting my line of greeting cards
– Going to Barcelona, Berlin, and a few towns in Morocco (too much?)
– Have more ribs and #justlove.

Check back with me in 360 days to see where I’m at.